1428 Elm St

Fictional Ohio – 1428 Elm St.

The State of Ohio has a long history that, in and of itself, is fascinating enough. However, the state also has a long history in fiction that often gets overlooked when talking about the state. This is most likely because fiction, unlike history, didn’t really happen, which I can fully understand. Yet, these stories do often play a role in how people perceive the state, and sometimes fiction is a large reflection on what really happened here and who lives here. I believe that aspect of history is just as important as the true history and geography of Ohio. One perfect example of this is an address that probably everyone recognizes: 1428 Elm St., Springwood, Ohio.

Elm Street, 1984-1987

At the address of 1428 Elm St, you will find single parent Marge Thompson and her daughter Nancy. They are a typical American family (whatever that means) and there is nothing all that special about either of them. Then, one night, Tina (a friend of Nancy) has a violent dream where she is attacked by a disfigured man, but when she wakes up the following morning she discovers bruises on her body from where she had been slashed, and her nightgown has rips at the same place. Tina is kind of freaked out about this, and when she talks to Nancy about it, Nancy revealed that she, too, had a similar dream the night before (but was not attacked). Nancy’s boyfriend Glen is also present, and guess what – he had a similar dream, too.

To make a long story (movie runtime is about 91 minutes) a bit shorter, they rather quickly associate their dreams to the story of “Fred Krueger” who was this psycho killer who un-alived a bunch of children, got off on a technicality, so the townsfolk burned the guy alive to solve that problem. Then a whole bunch of kids learn that if they die in their dreams, they die in real life, supposedly as a way to scare real-life teenagers away from having sex, or something I guess. So, after a bunch of kids die in their dreams, Nancy figures out a way to take Freddy’s power away from him and then the movie ends. (Sorry, no spoilers.)

The following year, we learn it’s actually five years later and the Walsh family now lives at 1428 Elm St and their son, Jesse, starts to have dreams of Freddie, too. Then he learns his friends are all having similar dreams, kids start dying while they’re dreaming again and nobody knows what’s going on until Jesse finds Nancy Thompson’s diary and long story short (second movie’s runtime is approximately 87 minutes) a bunch of scary things happen and then the movie ends. (Sorry, no spoilers, again.)

Finally, in 1987, it’s only a year later, and Kristen Parker and her family move into 1428 Elm St. because apparently no real estate agent is smart enough to warn families with teenagers not to buy that house where a whole lot of really crazy stuff went down. Anyway, to make a long story short (third movie’s runtime is about 96 minutes) Kristen meets Nancy Thompson, then it’s revealed Kristen has supernatural powers herself, and a bunch of scary things happen, a bunch of kids die, and then the movie ends. (Sorry, no spoilers yet again.)

The Elm Street Nightmare

In the original script for A Nightmare on Elm Street, the town of Springwood existed somewhere in the Los Angeles suburbia. However, at some point the location was changed to … well, somewhere in Ohio. The first film specifically stated “Springwood, Ohio” however it failed to address the existence of palm trees in the background. But, it was definitely a suburb of some major Ohio city. 

Neither the writers, producers or directors of The NIghtmare on Elm Street ever addressed this change, officially, although many people speculated that the fictional town of Springwood was a suburb of Cleveland because that was where Wes Craven, the creator of the Nightmare series, was originally from.

It is also worth noting that by the third film, Springwood, Ohio, had somehow managed to go from a suburban location to an isolated small town, outside any metropolitan area. But, at least Springwood, Ohio was still located somewhere in Ohio. Again, this change was not addressed by any of the film crew, perhaps because they didn’t think any of the fans would catch on. I don’t know.

The Elm Street location would go on to become an important location in all nine films (not sure if we need to keep counting or not, but the last film came out in 2010 so, maybe we should, but this is Hollywood we’re talking about so you never know). In most of the movies, it is the location where the main character (often the final girl-boy lives) or where a bulk of the action takes place. In some of the movies, it is implied (although not expressly told) that 1428 Elm Street was also the residence of Fred Kreuger when he did all that bad stuff to all those kids. 

Even though the filmmakers never addressed the “Ohio” issue directly, a few of them did comment on how Ohio was unique because it had a little bit of everything, all across the board. In Ohio you can find everything from big cities to small villages, large industrial complexes to vast hills of farmlands. “Everyone can find something in the State of Ohio that they can relate to.” So, even though that might not be the official reason for the change, it just might be the point.

And, for the record, the filming location for 1428 Elm Street was, in reality, 1428 North Genesee Avenue in Los Angeles, California. (I shouldn’t have to say it’s a private address so please be respectful of whoever lives there, or nearby.) But, I guess that explains all those Ohio palm trees.

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